Harmonized System and World Customs Organization
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems, generally referred to as "Harmonized System" or simply "HS," is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by a six digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure, and supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification. The system is used by more than 200 countries and economies as a basis for their customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. More than 98 percent of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS.
The HS contributes to the harmonization of customs and trade procedures and the non-documentary trade data interchange in connection with such procedures, thus reducing the costs related to international trade. It is also extensively used by governments, international organizations and the private sector for many other purposes such as internal taxes, trade policies, monitoring of controlled goods, rules of origin, freight tariffs, transport statistics, price monitoring, quota controls, compilation of national accounts, and economic research and analysis. The HS is thus a universal economic language and code for goods, and an indispensable tool for international trade.
The Harmonized System is governed by "The International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System." The official interpretation of the HS is given in the Explanatory Notes (5 volumes in English and French) published by the WCO. The WCO is responsible for securing uniform interpretation of the HS and its periodic updating in light of developments in technology and changes in trade patterns. The WCO manages this process through the Harmonized System Committee (representing the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention), which examines policy matters, takes decisions on classification questions, settles disputes and prepares amendments to the Explanatory Notes. The HS Committee also prepares amendments updating the HS every four to six years.
U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule
The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) was enacted by Congress and made effective on January 1, 1989, replacing the former Tariff Schedules of the United States.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) publishes and maintains the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) and provides technical information on its structure and modification. However, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security is solely authorized to interpret the HTS, to issue legally binding rulings or advice on the tariff classification of imports and their treatment upon entry into the United States, and to administer customs laws.
The HTS comprises a hierarchical structure for describing all goods in trade for duty, quota, and statistical purposes. This structure is based upon the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) administered by the World Customs Organization in Brussels. The four and six digit HS product categories are subdivided into eight digit rate lines unique to the U.S. and 10-digit non-legal statistical reporting categories. Classification of goods in this system must be done in accordance with the General and Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation, starting at the four digit heading level to find the most specific provision and then moving to the subordinate categories.
The "general" rates of duty sub-column contains U.S. normal trade relations duty rates; products of some NTR countries may be eligible for preferential tariff programs, as reflected in the "special" sub-column. Column two (the so-called "statutory rates") applies to countries listed in general note 3(b); the general notes set forth the rules for applying the HTS. Embargoes, anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties, and other very specific matters administered by the Executive Branch are not contained in the HTS.
- U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (by chapter)
- U.S. Tariff Database (lookup specific product)
- U.S. Tariff Programs
- Future U.S. Tariff Rates
- U.S. Customs Rulings
U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (by chapter)
U.S. Tariff Database (lookup specific product)
HS 2007 Nomenclature
HS 2002 Nomenclature
Correlation Tables (2002/2007)
Correlation Tables (1996/2002)
WTO World Tariff Profiles 2008